SENAPATI, January 20 (NNN): The All Naga Students’ Association Manipur (ANSAM) and Naga Women’s Union (NWU) have said today that the provocative views of the Joint Secretary, North East, Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), Government of India (GoI) on the press statement of the United Naga Council (UNC) announcing sustained civil actions in his interview with some media has “constrained us to issue the following joint statements based on facts already placed in the public domain.”
According to ANSAM and NWU, the sustained civil action was decided by the Presidential Council in its meeting held on January 16 due to the lack of response and insincerity on the part of the GoI and Government of Manipur (GoM) to carry forward the tripartite process.
“The Joint Secretary of MHA seems to be talking on behalf of the State Government which is a separate entity in the tripartite talk process. If he discerns any secessionist overtones in the abstention from Republic Day programme that has been called by the UNC, he will also need to take actions on all those who have abstained from Parliament or from Republic day programmes to register their protest in the past years. He conveniently forgets that the issue is about a tripartite talk within the Indian constitution and reads secessionist tendencies here,” the ANSAM and NWU added.
They also said the Shambhu Singh was “perplexed” on seeing the press release of the UNC and has dubbed it as unilateral. But he was not perplexed over the fact that the UNC had sent a reminder to the Secretary, Ministry of Home Affairs, GoI on October 29, 2013 for timely convening of the next tripartite talk so that the democratic process can be respectfully taken forward and a copy of the same was endorsed to his good office. Further, as no response was forthcoming from the GoI, a public statement was issued by the UNC on November 18, 2013 based on the decision of the Presidential Council of the UNC to observe a total ban on all vehicular traffic on National Highways 2(earlier 39), 37 and 150 in Naga areas for 48 hours w.e.f from midnight of November 19, 2013 as a symbolic demonstration of protest against the disrespect of the GoI and GoM to the Naga people and the democratic process of dialogue and the same was accordingly observed, they stated.
When the same still did not elicit any response, the 3rd Council Assembly of the UNC seriously viewed the indifference of the GoI to the democratic process of dialogue. Through its Press Statement dated December 6, 2013, the UNC placed in the public domain that the ban on construction works on all national projects in the Naga areas which was temporarily suspended w.e.f. September 3, 2013 will be re-imposed indefinitely should no positive response be received from the GoI within one week’s time.
ANSAM and NWU then said that on December 10, 2013, UNC issued a press statement to register its strong resentment to the statement of the Joint Secretary, that the demand for an Alternative Arrangement is “quite hazy” and that the matter of upgrading the Alternative Arrangement talk to the political level has been left to the State Government to resolve with the UNC.
With continued silence from the GoI, the UNC Presidential Council met on January 16. In view of the willful insult to the Naga people and the democratic process of dialogue that has been upheld with respect by the Nagas in Manipur, the Presidential Council decided that sustained civil actions would be taken up in protest against the GoM and GoI and to press for immediate intervention of the GoI with alternative arrangement, the Naga bodies said.
Instead of promoting the democratic spirit, “he is using his office to scuttle the dialogue process for he definitely has an axe to grind or otherwise his attitude reflected in the interview is not expected at all from the senior ranking IAS officer of the GoI,” they said.
“He seems unaware that UNC is the tribe based organisation of Naga people in Manipur and not a rag tag outfit and speaks for the interest of the tribals in Manipur as a whole. The decision for sustained civil action was taken by the Presidential Council in which all tribe presidents are the members and are attended by the Naga frontal organisations. We want development of our areas. Not to speak of the material development, our identity, our traditional institutions and cultural practices, ownership over our land and resources are being derecognised. That is what the demand for alternative arrangement is all about,” the ANSAM and NWU stated.
According to ANSAM and NWU, Shambhu Singh has ruled out any talk with the UNC. “Clearly he does not speak for the GoI which has initiated the dialogue process. It is for the GoI to consider, whether the ego and personal perception of an individual officer should determine the fate of the democratic process of dialogue that it has been initiated by the GoI in the backdrop of the sharp social divide on communal lines in the state of Manipur. He will be responsible for criminalisation of a people’s mass movement for their aspiration for political empowerment which the constitution of India guarantees and also for the collapse of the dialogue process should it be discontinued